President Trump on Monday condemned bigotry and white supremacy and listed four ways to stop mass shootings in the wake of tragedies in Texas and Ohio that left 29 people dead.
He also urged Democrats and Republicans to come together.
“I am open and ready to listen and discuss all ideas that will actually work and make a very big difference,” Trump said in a brief speech from the White House. “… Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside – so destructive – and find the courage to answer hatred with unity, devotion and love. Our future is in our control. America will rise to the challenge. We always have and we always will.”
A gunman motivated by hatred of Hispanics killed 20 people and injured 26 in an El Paso, Texas Walmart Saturday. That same night, a different gunman killed nine and injured 27 outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio.
“The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Trump said. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”
Trump listed four areas of action he said can stop mass shootings before they happen:
- “First, we must do a better job of identifying and acting on early warning signs.”
“I am directing the Department of Justice to work in partnership with local, state and federal agencies, as well as social media companies to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike,” Trump said. “As an example, the monster in the Parkland High School in Florida had many red flags against him and yet nobody took decisive action. Nobody did anything. Why not?”
- “Second, we must stop the glorification of violence in our society.”
“This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace,” Trump said. “It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately. Cultural change is hard. But each of us can choose to build a culture that celebrates the inherent worth and dignity of every human life.”
- “Third, we must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence.”
America must “make sure those people not only get treatment, but when necessary, involuntary confinement,” Trump said. “Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger – not the gun.”
- “Fourth, we must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process.”
“That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders,” Trump said. “Today, I'm also directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty, and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively and without years of needless delay.”
The internet, Trump said, “has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts.
“We must shine a light on the dark recesses of the internet and stop mass murders before they start,” he said. “The internet likewise is used for human trafficking, illegal drug distribution, and so many other heinous crimes. The perils of the internet and social media cannot be ignored, and they will not be ignored.”
The nation, Trump said, is “outraged and sickened by this monstrous evil.”
“Our hearts are shattered for every family whose parents, children, husbands and wives were ripped from their arms and their lives,” he said. “America weeps for the fallen. We are a loving nation, and our children are entitled to grow up in a just, peaceful and loving society. Together, we lock arms to shoulder the grief. We ask God in heaven to ease the anguish of those who suffer. And we vow to act with urgent resolve.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Alex Wong/Staff
Video courtesy: Washington Post
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.